The Christmas before Mike and I got married, to help me prepare for married lady-ness, my mom gave me the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. Its red and white plaid cover shelters a binder of classic BH&G recipes—70 years worth, in fact. It is the most useful book that I possess, or have ever read.
A treasure chest of middle-class American cuisine, this cookbook features information about weight and measure conversions, emergency substitutions, the different types of pasta, the merits of butter over margarine in baked goods, a glossary of common cooking terms, and diagrams of the different cuts of meat. Unlike some of the other cookbooks I’ve used, the BH&G has never failed me. Every single recipe I’ve made from it—and believe me, I’ve nearly exhausted the cookie and cake chapters—turns out exactly as expected. This speaks volumes for BH&G’s test kitchens, and makes things so much easier for self-taught cooks and bakers.
This pound cake recipe is a slight adaptation from the one in the BH&G (I tripled the quantity of vanilla) and yields a sturdy but tender texture that would be an ideal base for a trifle. It could be accessorized by any number of glazes, though I highly recommend pairing this cake with whipped cream (or whipped topping, as is pictured above) and the summer fruit of your choice or a handful of chocolate chips.
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Let butter, eggs, and sour cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour an 8x4x2 loaf pan.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and continue beating on medium or medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.
Beat in vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each; scrape the bowl well before adding your next egg.
Add flour mixture and sour cream alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating after each until ingredients are just combined.
Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before serving.